The owner of two California bungalows on a corner block in Melbourne’s Glen Iris saw an opportunity to better utilise his property’s generous backyards. Rather than sell the excess land, or create an overly dense townhouse development, the owner called in Breathe Architecture to design two sustainable brick homes as future rental properties.
Creating the most sustainable dwellings possible was important to both Breathe and the client, to ensure minimal environmental impact and financial benefits for the eventual tenants.
‘We know that the construction industry is responsible for nearly 40 per cent of carbon emissions. Designing with sustainability at the forefront of every design decision is critical and needs to happen now if we are to avoid climate catastrophe,’ says Madeline Sewall, director of houses at Breathe Architecture.
Both of these new homes operate without fossil fuel services, instead relying on solar and electric energy, and have a heat pump system that supplies hot water. Rainwater is collected and stored on site and plumbed back into toilets and garden taps for reuse.
Recycled materials were likewise carefully chosen for sustainability, including bricks on the exterior (in keeping with the existing neighbourhood character), timber bench tops, and timber decking. The pared back yet robust interior palette includes terrazzo tiles and concrete floors, adding thermal mass that also contributes to the project’s 8 star NatHERS rating.
Although identical in brief (each containing three bedrooms, one study, and two-and-a-half bathrooms), each home’s layout differs slightly to optimise outdoor connections. A series of ‘hit and miss’ brick screens are interspersed throughout, creating small courtyards that draw in air and dappled light.
Breathe Architecture pride themselves on designing homes that are inherently sustainable, without compromising on design outcomes. ‘Sustainable architecture can often be more imaginative, as it is constantly questioning the status quo and innovating to deliver outcomes that make a positive impact on humanity and the planet,’ says Madeline.
Indeed, Bardolph Gardens is all this and more, achieving positive outcomes for the clients, tenants, and the environment.
This story is part of our Sustainable Homes series, brought to you in partnership with Bank Australia.
Bank Australia’s Clean Energy Home Loan offers a discounted home loan rate if you buy or build a home that exceeds a 7 star NatHERS rating, or have made ambitious green upgrades in the last 12 months. Learn more about the Clean Energy Home Loan.